3 MIN READ | Social Psychology

Boys Who Watch Porn: How Sexist Attitudes Are Influenced by First Porn Exposure

Dennis Relojo

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Studying porn and how it impacts health and well-being is a challenging research area. For one, researchers’ methodologies and cohorts can all vary. But the direction of most research point to the notion that porn is not the healthiest thing for men.

A recent research presented at the American Psychological Association’s annual convention, found out that the age at which a male first encountered porn is linked with future sexist attitudes. Moreover, it was found out that the earlier the porn exposure is, the more likely a male would desire to have more authority over women. These men are also more likely to be promiscuous.

Alyssa Bischmann, the lead researcher, explains that ‘the goal of the study was to examine how age of first exposure to pornography, and the nature of said first exposure, predicts conformity to two masculine norms: (1) sexually promiscuous behaviour; and, (2) seeking power over women.Bischmann and her team asked the men (most are heterosexual and white) when they first viewed porn and whether it was intentional, accidental or forced. These men were then were asked to respond to a series of 46 questions aimed to gauge the two masculine norms.


Researchers found out that the average age that first men first viewed porn was 13.37 years old, while the youngest first saw it at five and the oldest at over than 26. Most of the participants disclosed that they had first encountered it by accident, rather than searching it out or being forced to watch it. While the researchers did observe a significant association between age of first exposure and adherence to the two masculine norms, the association was different for each.

Viewing pornography has a real impact on heterosexual men.

‘We found that the younger a man was when he first viewed pornography, the more likely he was to want power over women. The older a man was when he first viewed pornography, the more likely he would want to engage in playboy behaviour’,  Bischmann explained

However, it is important to note that the research did not take into account how much porn the men watched, the type of porn or other demographic factors, such as their socio-economic background – an important variable to consider. In fact. an earlier research observed that porn consumption reflect social background. Moreover, it could also have been other personality traits that determined when the males were exposed to porn.

The findings provide further evidence that viewing pornography has a real impact on heterosexual men, especially with regard to their views about sex roles, according to co-author Chrissy Richardson. Knowing more about the relationship between men’s pornography consumption and beliefs about women might assist sexual assault prevention efforts, especially among young boys who may have been exposed to pornography at an early age. This could also inform the treatment of various emotional and social issues experienced by young heterosexual men who watch pornography, she said. 


Dennis Relojo is the founder of Psychreg and is also the Editor-in-Chief of Psychreg Journal of Psychology. Aside from PJP, he sits on the editorial boards of peer-reviewed journals, and is a Commissioning Editor for the International Society of Critical Health Psychology. A Graduate Member of the British Psychological Society, Dennis holds a master’s degree in psychology from the University of Hertfordshire. His research interest lies in the intersection of psychology and blogging. You can connect with him through Twitter @DennisRelojo and his website.


 


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